Vegetable of the Month – Root Vegetables
Can you believe that it is December all ready? The year has just flown by! The Thanksgiving holiday is behind us and many of us are preparing for Christmas and New Years. Food and cooking is such a huge part of what makes the holidays special. Many of the recipes that have been on my mind lately are pretty party appetizers or Christmas dinner sides. However, our families still need a nutritious meal on the table all the other nights of the month.
I recently learned that December is root vegetable month. Who would have thought that there would be a month devoted to root vegetables! It is a good month to focus on them, as they are still readily available in the market, displacing the fresh seasonal summer vegetables. There is also something warming about root vegetables. They just taste and feel so good in a stew or hot dish.
While there are so many delicious winter soups containing root vegetables, this month I will share a recipe for roasted root vegetables with curry and topped with puff pastry. Not only is it yummy, it is full of good nutrition. I hope that you love it as much as I did!
Now, let’s learn a bit about root vegetables and their nutrition. Root vegetables, or tuberous roots, include potatoes (sweet potatoes, yams and white), carrots, onions, radishes, parsnips, beets and turnips. Basically, they are the vegetables that grow under ground, absorb nutrients from the soil and whose underground roots can be eaten. The roots are a storage area for the plant. Several of them also have leafy tops that can be eaten, such as with turnips.
Root vegetables are not typically known to be nutritional powerhouses, but they have lots of good stuff in them and should be incorporated into your healthy diet. They are generally low in calories, fat, cholesterol and high in fiber and antioxidants. While each one is unique in their nutritional profile, they all contain fiber and some health promoting phytochemicals. They contain antioxidants (like beta carotene, vitamins B, C, folate and potassium) and trace minerals. When incorporating root vegetables into your diet, select a wide range of types and colors to ensure that you get a variety of their nutritional benefits. Not only will you be benefiting your cardiovascular system by eating them, you will be strengthening your immune system too.
Root vegetables are excellent roasted, grilled, or mashed. Personally, I loved them in soups, especially at this time of the year. Another favorite of mine is to simply cut them up, toss them in olive oil, season them with salt and pepper and roast them. It is so easy and delicious!
This month I’ve included a recipe for curried root vegetables with puff pastry. It is so delicious and easy to make. You can include any of your favorite root vegetables or simply use what you have on hand. I enjoy trying out new vegetables, ones that I do not typically cook with (in our house, it would be purple potatoes and parsnips). The recipe calls for curry powder. Curry powder contains turmeric which is a powerful anti-cancer / anti-inflammatory compound and simply gives the dish a unique flavor. If you are not a fan of curry, you can adjust the amount to suit your taste. As always, I recommend using organic vegetables to reduce the exposure to pesticides. If you do not use organic vegetables, be sure to peel the skins off to eliminate the majority of bad stuff in your dish.
I hope that you enjoy this warm and delicious dish. Most importantly, enjoy this special time of year with your families with some good food and wonderful memories Until next year…..
eat your veggies,